Reflections of a Learning Journey and the Connections made along the way

Archive for April, 2014

Day 8 – Gables Car park – Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre

IMG_0418A big final day ahead today. About 18 kms to walk which is our biggest day yet. We started off at 8:00 and came to the beach access for Wreck Beach. There were 366 steps down to the beach and not wanting to wade through more soft sand we decided to stick to the track. Sorry to miss Wreck Beach. Maybe another trip?? We soon came to the Devils Kitchen campsite.

Then we headed off though some tall timber and then through tea tree forests again. A couple of wallabys sat on the path and watched us. They showed no fear and we actually had to move forward to get them to move away. We are still seeing many different types of plants. Soon we were up high on the cliffs and walking though low scrub. Stopped at a seat and noticed a small snake on the track. Turned out to be a plastic one but we were so jumpy from other sightings that we were quite freaked out by it. Even when we sure that it was plastic I had to hold Robyn’s hand to walk past it. Not a very funny joke

Came over a rise and had our first sighting of the twelve apostles. As we walked along the cliff tops we saw several views of them which were probable the best to be seen apart from from a helicopter. Met Eric at Gibson steps and walked the final few hundred metres to the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre. We finished at 1:30. A fantastic sense of achievement to be finished. Home to our spa and glass of champagne. Terry arrived at about 7:30


Day 7 – Ryan’s Den Track to Gables Car Park

Day 7

Day 7

Left a bit later this morning at 10:15 as we thought we only had about 7 Kms to go. We started the day by retracing our steps on Ryan’s Den Track to rejoin the walk. We walked around over Ryan’s Den wondering what it actually is. Soon we we able to view it from the other side of the cliff. Two large caves in the sea wall. Very spectacular sight.

From there we continued on up a series of steps and mostly uphill. Then some quite comfortable walking through tall timber and tea tree dens. We saw our third snake. A tiger snake about 2 metres long. We had to wait quite a while for it to cross the track in front of us. We came out at a cow paddock and saw the sign that we still had 4.5 Kms to go! Very pleasant walking though so we made good time but still a lot later than we thought we would be at 2:10. Quite a miscalculation today as we probably ended up walking about 12kms.

Day 6 Johanna Beach to Ryan’s Den track

IMG_0317We woke to grey drizzly day which was quite a bit cooler. We got going early again wearing our rain coats and left Johanna Beach at 9:10. The start of the day was quite easy going over paddocks and through several gates. It was quite a climb but steady with lots of views back over Johanna Beach and our cottages. Then it started to get much harder with lots of narrow tracks and very steep ups and downs. One small section was almost vertical.


There was a small beach section when we crossed Melanesia River and saw more interesting rock formations. We ate blackberries again. They have been prevalent on a lot of the tracks.

We had to walk out to the Great Ocean Road to meet Eric today so we had to find Ryan’s Den Track. Amanda noticed a sign saying Management vehicles so we thought that might be the one but it wasn’t signposted and looked quite overgrown. So we walked on a bit further. Then decided to check the map and noticed the coordinates were marked. So we used the compass on the iPhone. This proved to be totally accurate. The track out was rocky and fairly steep but we arrived at Top of Ryans Den at 1:50 to wait for Eric.

Day 5 – Aire River to Johanna Beach

IMG_0273We were up early this morning so that we could leave by 9:30 so that we could get to Johanna Beach before high tide.
We started from Aire River. We passed a school group and also another couple.  That was the most people we had seen on the track so far.

I almost stepped on a brown snake!  It was quite large but fortunately moved very quickly out of the way.  Then within another couple of hundred metres we saw another one which we think was tiger snake.  It did not seem in a hurry so we just had to stand very still and wait until it headed back into the bush.  Very scary! We were quite jumpy for a while.

Lots of great views from lookouts today including Castle Cove. Also saw the first pink heath and lots of grass trees.
Finished the day with quite a long walk on Johanna beach through very soft sand again until we came to the Johanna River. The sand was much firmer walking along the banks of the River which ran along the back of the beach. We had to wade through the river before heading up the hill towards the campsite. We started to walk up to the cottages until Eric picked us up at 1:30

Day 4 – Cape Otway Lighthouse to Aire River

Day Four

Day Four

Started out at 12:30 as there was quite a lot of beach that we hoped to walk and we needed to wait for low tide. Temperature by now was over 20 and forecast to get to nearly 30. We stopped at the Cape Otway Cemetary where there were graves of some of the lighthouse keepers children. And also graves of shipwrecked sailors from the Blanket Bay disaster on 21st March 1896.

Lots of walking in loose sand and no cover. When we got to the Beach section we decided to go down to see how the beach looked. It was more soft sand but we decided to go down to Rainbow Falls anyway.  Very hot and a long trek down.   Interesting rock formations where the water was falling.
We then had to trek back along the same beach.  We decided that it was too hard going so we climbed back up to the GOW. Still very hot with more loose sand and no cover.
There was one or two highlights right at the end with some great vine cover. Then we spotted the Aire River and were very pleased to know the end was in site. Then we saw Eric coming to meet us so we knew we were nearly there. Arrived Aire River Bridge at about 4:00. A very hard day and we were very glad to get our shoes off.
On the way back we stopped at Castle Cove lookout and realised that we would walk past there tomorrow.

Day 3 -Blanket Bay to Cape Otway

Starting out on Day 3

Starting out on Day 3

After a breakfast of eggs and bacon we headed to our starting point of Blanket Bay spotting a couple of wallabies on the way.
Another lovely day with the temperature at around 20 degrees again. We were a bit late getting started today but we were walking by 11:00. We had to clean our boots at the first of many boot cleaning stations. This is apparently to prevent the spread of Cinnamon fungus.

Totally different scenery to yesterday. We had to wade across at Parker’s Inlet. Then a pretty tough climb – seemed like the steps went on forever. Fern undergrowth and stunted trees then the foliage changed to grass trees. Past the wreck of Eric the Red but only a sign as evidence. Saw the first of the Banksia trees. Quite closed in track for a while which felt a bit like a hedge maze. Joined the vehicle track for the last part of the walk to the Cape OtwayLighthouse arriving at 1:50pm.


Drove back and went to Johanna Beach. There was a huge rip right in the middle with only 3 surfers out. But they were pretty good surfers.

Day 2 – Shelley Beach to Blanket Bay

Another beautiful day around 20 degrees. We left Shelley Beach at 10:30. The day started with a downhill walk, past a waterfall, then over stepping stones on the Elliott River. We then had a steep climb which was the hardest part of the day. There were no beach walks today and most of the day was spent walking through beautiful tall trees. It was very quiet without even much bird noise. Stopped for lunch at the intersection of Parker and Johnson tracks.
We finished the day at 2:10 on the beach where there were quite a few people, the first we had seen all day. On the way back we stopped to look at koalas by the side of the road. Lots of European tourists all over the road. One was actually up in the tree taking a photo!

We headed back to our accommodation for the rest of the week. The cottage is wonderful with a lovely view out over the paddocks and Johanna Beach.